Creatine HCL is the most popular form of creatine besides monohydrate, and for good reason. When you take creatine HCL, it dissolves faster, less is required, and creatine symptoms like bloating are non-existent. So, why does anyone still take monohydrate anyways?
Here we are going to cover all the up-to-date research on creatine HCL, typical supplements that contain it, and the best ways to take it. As well, we are going to compare creatine HCL to creatine monohydrate and explain why both of these forms of creatine are awesome.
Afterwards, go check out why everyone should take creatine to learn more about how it can benefit your lifestyle.
Why Creatine HCL can compete with Creatine Monohydrate: Solubility
The reason why creatine HCL has come to exist stems from the simple characteristic of creatine monohydrate – being that it doesn’t dissolve easily.
Since it doesn’t dissolve easily into water, it then later doesn’t cross from your intestines into your blood stream easily. Due to this, a great deal of creatine monohydrate is left in your intestinal tract.
This left over creatine monohydrate in your intestinal tract has the potential to do two irritable things.
- It draws in a great deal of water which causes you to bloat and have a soft, hydrated stool which reduces nutrient uptake.
- Bacteria in your gut may utilize creatine and heavily proliferate, creating imbalances that can reduce nutrient uptake.
This is why so many people report negative interactions with creatine monohydrate. Not to mention a long laundry list of impurities that have been FOUND in lesser quality creatine supplements (see here!).
Proper Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation is Side Effect Free
The side effects above that stem from poor creatine uptake suck. But, like most things in life, they don’t occur as an absolute law.
Rather, the bad uptake of creatine monohydrate is the result of subpar creatine sources and supplementation methods!
Meaning, the solution here is this…
First off, if you are taking creatine monohydrate, ensure that it is made by a reputable company. To date, CreaPure is the gold standard, and is used in many quality creatine supplements. They have a green logo that is normally on the back near the supplement facts of products.
Next, take your creatine properly. It really sucks that this step hasn’t been stressed further on product label directions, but we will give it to you here.
Hands down, when you take creatine you’ve got to make sure it dissolves. Dissolving means essentially going clear, so that you no longer see particles spinning around in the fluid.
To make this easier with something that doesn’t dissolve well like creatine monohydrate you can do one or both of the following: add more water, or heat the water. Both of these methods allow creatine monohydrate to dissolve better.
Back to Creatine HCL Supplementation
Creatine HCL dissolves incredibly fast and easily compared to creatine monohydrate. This is why you can also find creatine HCL in pill form, since it’s capable of dissolving into the fluids available in your stomach. Monohydrate on the other hand isn’t nearly soluble enough to do this.
Since creatine dissolves so easily, and therefor uptakes into the body easily – many supplement companies that make creatine HCL say that you need as little as 1/5 the amount compared to monohydrate.
This is pretty cool, but there really isn’t a whole lot of true clinical research on human athletes to back this up. In fact, this is the current bane of creatine HCL supplementation. There essentially isn’t any research out there, all the while creatine monohydrate has countless positive peer reviewed studies.
Right now, besides supplement manufacturer claims – there is only one true study involving creatine HCL that came out very recently out of Sao Paulo.
Published in Food and Nutrition Sciences, researchers at the University of Sao Judas Tadeu in Sao Paulo Brazil compared creatine monohydrate supplementation to creatine HCL supplementation in bodybuilders.
This involved 40 individuals separated into 4 groups: 10 taking 5 grams of monohydrate, 10 taking 5 grams of creatine HCL, 10 taking 1.5 grams of creatine HCL, and 10 taking placebo.
By the end of the study, they found that creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL produced the same performance enhancing results. In addition, creatine HCL produced more aesthetic results with the lack of additional water bloating. See study here.
Creatine Monohydrate Vs Creatine HCL Supplementation – Our Opinion
Both creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL work. While companies claim that you need way less creatine HCL than monohydrate, we still prefer taking more than 1/5 the monohydrate dose.
When it comes down to it, this is how we partition creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL.
- Creatine HCL is awesome to take pre workout without stimulants.
- Creatine Monohydrate is awesome to take at home after your gym session/with meals in warm water.
Under normal conditions, the BWSB staff has no problem taking both creatine HCL and monohydrate in this manner. It all comes down to schedule, ease, and what else we are taking. That’s why you will find a monohydrate as our top creatine supplement, despite creatine HCLs own unique advantages.
For instance, if we are taking a pre workout like Stim-Free by transparent labs which contains 3 grams of creatine HCL, then we may take another 1-2 grams of monohydrate with our post workout meal to top things off (for aggressive training weighing in at over 190 lbs).
On the other hand, if we are not taking a pre workout at all, or taking a stimulant pre workout that has little to no creatine, then we would take 5 grams of creatine monohydrate with our post workout meal.
This is all personal preference, and you can trial and error to find out what works best for your body and lifestyle.